Clarence Heyward – Swimming Lessons I
Dimensions: 61 x 37″ framed / 60 x 36″ unframed
Medium: acrylic and variegated leaf on canvas
A profound voice in realities of contemporary Blackness in America, Clarence Heyward uses green instead of black skin to remind us of our own projections upon Black people. He paints his own daughter in a swimming pool, as a reminder of what it felt like when he and his family entered the swimming pool at the New Orleans Four Seasons Resort, and everyone else–all white–got of the pool. The history of being Black and unwelcomed in swim settings runs deep and he feels people should be able to walk in his shoes.
Turner Carroll is the first gallery to exhibit Heyward’s work, and has already placed his paintings in top collections and museums including the Rubell, North Carolina Museum of Art, and the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. Clarence Heyward was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. He is a painter and collagist whose work explores notions of the Black American experience. Heyward tackles cultural truths, stereotypes, and questions identity in his work. He “paints his truth” and uses persons of color as subjects in his work as homage to his culture. Among his most prevalent subjects are members of his own family, as well as himself. His intimate knowledge of their lived experience informs his fresh and direct approach to contemporary figuration. He often uses the chromakey green color to reference the video concept of a green screen, upon which any background or reality can be superimposed. His use of chroma key in his recent paintings evokes a sense of possibility within identity, and a recognition that who we see is a function of who we are as observers.
Though Clarence is brand new on the contemporary art scene, two museums have already purchased his work and offered him exhibitions–the Contemporary Art Museum of Raleigh, and the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. The Harvey Gantt Center for African American Art and Culture will exhibit his work for 2022.